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Source: Carmen Ellis,;
and Careem Gladney,
News release prepared by: Beth Bohn, 785-532-6415,

Thursday, March 12, 2009


MANHATTAN -- For the third time in the last four years, the Big 12 Council on Black Student Government has named Kansas State University's Black Student Union as the best in the Big 12. The council also has named a K-State student leader as the most outstanding senior.

Carmen Ellis, K-State Black Student Union president.

The awards were presented at the 32nd annual Big 12 Council on Black Student Government Conference, Feb. 26-28, at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

K-State's Careem Gladney, senior in finance, Manhattan, received a $1,000 scholarship for his selection as the outstanding senior. Gladney is a member of K-State's Black Student Union, where he has served as a Big 12 Council delegate. He is president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.; a member of Mortar Board, the senior honorary; K-State's chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, where he has served as treasurer; a small group leader and office coordinator with K-State's School of Leadership Studies; and has served a summer internship with Cargill. Gladney also was a member of the K-State presidential search committee. He is a graduate of Wichita High School Southeast.

K-State's Black Student Union received the Clarence Wine Most Outstanding Council of the Year Award, which is presented to the best black student government organization in the Big 12. The honor includes $1,000. The Black Student Union also received the award in 2006 and 2008.

"This is monumental for our Black Student Union," said Carmen Ellis, senior in elementary education, Kansas City, Kan., and president of K-State's Black Student Union. "K-State should be very proud to have the best Black Student Union in the Big 12. It means we are doing such positive things, like helping to retain minority students at K-State, enhancing diversity and promoting leadership and education."


Ellis said credit for the continued excellence of the organization goes to members of its executive board.

"We have a strong executive board whose members are passionate about the organization and what they do on campus," she said. "We take our responsibilities seriously. We put on programs and events to help educate and inform people about a variety of things like politics, relationships, education, career building, internships and more."


Careem Gladney

Among the activities K-State's Black Student Union organizes annually are the university's Black History Month observance in February, which included around 20 events this year; a Kwanzaa celebration; and the "Welcome Back Barbecue" in the fall for incoming freshmen, transfer students and current K-State students. The barbecue is sponsored by Cargill, which also does some job and internship recruiting at the event.

The Black Student Union has around 45 members at K-State and Ellis said the group is working to increase its numbers.

"We are especially trying to reach out to athletes," she said. "We have a lot of minorities in athletics and want them to know about the Black Student Union and what it does."

Along with Ellis, members of the K-State Black Student Union executive board and their duties include:

From Greater Kansas City: Gernae Roland, senior in psychology, Kansas City, Kan., special programs; Brittany Pennington, junior in computer engineering, Kansas City, Mo., assistant treasurer; Cassie Smith, freshman in business administration, public relations, and Kristen Wilkes, senior in sociology, head Big 12 delegate, both of Olathe; and Brandon Hall, sophomore in business administration, Overland Park, Big 12 delegate.

Brittany Delaney, junior in communication sciences and disorders and pre-nursing, vice president, and Ashley Glover, sophomore in speech and pre-law, Big 12 delegate, both of Junction City; Vanessa Acosta-Carillo, junior in life sciences and pre-nursing, Ogden, treasurer; and Deborah Muhwezi, senior in mass communications, parliamentarian, and Jasmine Hammond, sophomore in pre-journalism and mass communications, new student support, both of Wichita.

From out of state: Eric Houston, junior in agribusiness, Champaign, Ill., Big 12 delegate; Mychal Davis, junior in animal sciences and industry, Omaha, Neb., Big 12 delegate; Lacey Skinner, sophomore in family studies and human services, Memphis, Tenn., educational programs; and Samuel Lewis Jr., senior in political science and pre-law, Houston, Texas, Big 12 delegate.